From Escuelerie to Sous, Here are the Types of Chef Roles Open to You!

“If you want to become a great chef, you have to work with great chefs. And that's exactly what I did.” – Gordon Ramsay

Working in a kitchen is most definitely a fast-paced, exciting job. In a busy restaurant, hiring the right chef for the job is essential for success.

There are various types of chefs that can operate in one kitchen, each with their own specific station. All of them have various skill sets, responsibilities, and duties which enable them to be able to do their job to the highest of standards.

Modern professional kitchens run according to a strict hierarchy, with roles being determined by the French Brigade system which ensures that the entire kitchen operation runs as smoothly as possible.

As a manager, hospitality worker, or fellow chef, it is important to know and understand the many positions held within a professional kitchen. We’ve highlighted the various types of chefs and the positions they could work in the post below.

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Firstly, it is a good idea to explain the difference between a chef and a cook. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, they do mean different things.

A chef is typically higher ranked in the kitchen as they are professionally trained to master culinary forms and to provide creative innovation on the menu, preparation, and presentation. Chefs usually have at least a few years of experience within kitchens.

Cooks are typically entry-level kitchen employees who follow specific recipes given to them and who flow between different cook positions as needed. They are trained to master forms of food preparation but usually take close direction from a specialised chef.

Here are the different types of chefs you could find in a kitchen:


Managerial Chefs

Executive Chef (Group/Head Chef): There is only one Executive chef per kitchen, and so there is high competition for the role. It represents the pinnacle of culinary achievement and only the largest establishments have one. It is primarily a management role and includes overseeing daily operations, food preparation, and menu planning, with Executives often creating most of the new dishes and recipes for the menu.

Sous Chef (Second Chef): They are the second-in-command within the kitchen and work directly with the executive chef. There can be more than one. It is often viewed as a hallmark achievement to get this role. It is a more hands-on role, with Sous chefs being involved in the day-to-day running of the kitchen, ensuring the other chefs prepare and complete orders to the highest of standards and fulfill the restaurant’s vision.

Chef de Partie (Station/Senior Chef): They are responsible for running a specific section of the kitchen. They are usually specialists on a certain portion of the menu and will ensure that only the highest quality food leaves their station. They can oversee the Specialised chefs or be the sole specialist in a specific area.



Specialised Chefs

Grill Chef (Grillardin): They cook any foods that need to be grilled, whether that be meats or vegetables.

Butcher Chef (Boucher): They prepare cuts of meat for other station chefs to cook. They will also examine the quality of meat to ensure they are of a high standard.

Pastry Chef (Patissier): They are the King or Queen of the pastry section; they make all baked goods, pastries, and desserts. The role requires a different type of culinary training and depending on the establishment, Pastry chefs can be equivalent to the Executive chef.

Pantry Chef (Garge Manger): They are responsible for the preparation of cold dishes such as salads and hors d’oeuvres. They will also be responsible for setting up buffet lines and ensuring all food is fresh.

Roast Chef (Rotisseur): They oversee the preparation of any roasted or braised meats on the menu. They may also be responsible for obtaining meat from local suppliers and retailers.

Vegetable Chef (Entremetier): They are responsible for preparing and cooking vegetables, soups, and eggs, as well as the handling of all dishes involving vegetables. Larger establishments may employ multiple chefs for this role.

Fish Chef (Poissonier): They prepare and cook seafood and are often responsible for fish butchering as well as creating the appropriate sauces. They usually acquire fresh fish daily via the fishermen or other merchants.

Fry Chef (Friturier): They specialise in the preparation of fried food items and so operate fryers. They are mainly needed in fast food establishments.

Sauce Chef (Saucier): Often the most respected role in the Brigade system due to their vital role in creating the sauces and gravies that will accompany other dishes. They usually follow the instructions of the Head Chef or Sous Chefs. They may also check every dish looks correct before it is served to the customer since the sauce is at the end of the plating procedure.



Types of Cook

Line Cook (Commis): They are junior members who shadow the chefs to learn more about kitchen responsibilities. They will often shadow a Chef de Partie in order to learn the ins and outs of a specific station. Commis are usually still in culinary school and are gaining experience through the position.

Prep Cook (Kitchen Porter/Kitchen Hand/Kitchen Assistant): They are responsible for daily food prep and kitchen tasks such as chopping ingredients, peeling potatoes, and cleaning countertops. They are less likely to have any formal culinary training.

Relief Cook (Chef de Tourant/Roundsman): They fill in wherever is needed, often assisting chefs that may be overwhelmed at their stations.

Short Order Cook: They prepare quick and simple meals and are responsible for clearing as many order tickets as quickly as possible, without sacrificing the quality of the meal. They mainly focus on making foods like sandwiches and salads.

Expediter: They are last in the line of food preparation and are responsible for ensuring each dish looks correct and contains all the needed elements before a server delivers the meal. This also includes matching tickets with plates and making sure the chefs have fulfilled any special customer requests. This position can often be filled by the Executive chefs themselves, especially if there is great emphasis on food quality and presentation.

Dishwasher (Escuelerie): They oversee the washing of dishes and cutlery.



So, Where Can I Find These Jobs?

Here are a few of the places you can find these jobs:

  • ️Resorts/Spas
  • Restaurants
  • Bed and Breakfasts
  • ️Campgrounds
  • Cruise Liners
  • Hotels and Motels
  • ️Extended stay and Retirement homes
  • Railroads
  • Amusement Attractions
  • Country clubs
  • ️Convention and Exposition Centres


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Good luck!

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